A family were left shocked after waking up to find a three-tonne hippo swimming in their pool.
Brent Reed, 47, said the giant male was discovered by a night watchman in the garden of his home in Maun, Botswana, in the early hours of 31 December.
The safari director managed to capture pictures of his youngest son Troy, 11, and friend Kyle Steyn, 15, gazing down at the wild animal, which he said appeared completely at ease with their presence.
The hippo – which is one of the world's most dangerous animals – seemed in no hurry to leave the family’s two-metre-deep pool and eventually climbed out after seeing in the new year.
The Letaka Safaris director said: “We didn’t think it could get out, but it did just that on 1 January and we woke up at 2am to the hippo grazing outside our bedroom.”
Mr Reed, who is also a host on National Geographic Wild series Safari Brothers, said the region experienced an unusually hot and dry summer in 2018.
He added: “It was a large male and there has been a drought for pretty much the whole year.
“The Thamalakane River has dried up so our swimming pool was probably the most inviting place for him to stay as our home is alongside the dry riverbed.”
Hippos are one of Africa’s most dangerous animals with huge jaws capable of crushing crocodiles.
Despite their size, they can reach speeds of almost 20mph on land and are at home in water where they will charge boats and people if they feel threatened.
Mr Reed said the uninvited guest prompted a huge clean-up operation after leaving behind a considerable mess in his previously pristine pool.
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